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Old 11-25-2022, 04:12 PM   #1
BobK99
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Sigil-like writing tool on Chrome OS?

I've written a number of books on Linux, and I'm looking for Sigil-like software that's supported on a Chromebook. Ideally, it should be able to import my .epub files, but I can start again from scratch if need be.

Any ideas?

Thanks

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Old 11-26-2022, 06:42 AM   #2
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Linux and ChromeOS are not the same. The ChromeOS is a glorified Google Terminal.
Also some Chromebooks are ARM based, which makes installing Linux instead of ChromeOS a little harder. Often more niche packages for Linux ARM need built from Source. See Raspberry Pi and Calibre.

An epub is a distribution, publishing and consumption format. Madness to use it as a source. If you are writing on Linux, then LO Writer and odt format is the source, then an extra Save As in docx (never edit it in LO) for Calibre or Sigil (there is a plugin) and convert to epub.

The only thing crazier than using epub or HTML as a book authoring source is PDF, which is also only for publishing (on paper), distribution and possibly reading on larger screen.
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Old 11-26-2022, 07:31 PM   #3
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[...] The only thing crazier than using epub or HTML as a book authoring source is PDF, which is also only for publishing (on paper), distribution and possibly reading on larger screen.
Meh. There's nothing inherently crazy about HTML as a source format. Word and LO use XML as a source format, which always seemed crazy to me, but they make it work. Mostly its about the software you build around the format. There are some decent HTML editors out there, and it would certainly be possible to do better than the ones I've see so far in terms of style handling and so on. Plus HTML is easily and fairly reliably imported or converted into pretty much anything else.


All that aside, when using Chrome OS it seems that Google docs is the most obvious way to go. Certainly it can import HTML, not sure if it can import epub directly, but apparently it can export to epub. Nothing Sigil-like about it, but I don't know enough about Chromebook to offer any other suggestions.
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Old 11-26-2022, 07:42 PM   #4
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ChromeOS is basically a waste of money as you'll need to buy a new computer that runs a proper OS.
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Old 11-26-2022, 09:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BobK99 View Post
I've written a number of books on Linux, and I'm looking for Sigil-like software that's supported on a Chromebook. Ideally, it should be able to import my .epub files, but I can start again from scratch if need be.
If your Chromebook supports Crostini (Linux) that might be the easiest way to go. Then you should be able to install and run Sigil directly on your Chromebook. Your Chromebook would most likely need to be an Intel or AMD based one.
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Old 11-27-2022, 06:27 AM   #6
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Meh. There's nothing inherently crazy about HTML as a source format. Word and LO use XML as a source format, which always seemed crazy to me, but they make it work. Mostly its about the software you build around the format. There are some decent HTML editors out there, and it would certainly be possible to do better than the ones I've see so far in terms of style handling and so on. Plus HTML is easily and fairly reliably imported or converted into pretty much anything else.
Not the same thing at all as there is no sensible Wordprocessor that uses HTML + CSS as the file format. Only half baked HTML WYSIWG editors that let you edit CSS directly.
Really only LO Writer (using odt) or MS Word (using docx) are sensible ways to write and edit a book.
HTML or PDF is easily produced directly (better from LO than Word up to 2007 anyway). Epub via Calibre or Sigil from docx (which LO can export/Save As).
I'd not go back to WYSIWG HTML editors, Wordstar (either flavour) or Wordperfect.
I'd use Notepad++ or KATE for text files or program source where a Wordprocessor isn't possible.
If you want an ebook (via docx) and PDF for paper and maybe samples on a Website, then MS Word (docx source) or LO Writer (odt source) is the best solution.
Also non-ebook destinations (editors, publishers etc) want doc or docx format. Real HTML is only for websites. Epub, even epub3 uses HTML and CSS files, but not exactly the same as a website, so a WYSIWYG HTML editor even with sensible CSS support is really bad way to author a book. At best it lets you tweek exported HTML or edit epub content (but Sigil and Calibre editor better for that).

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All that aside, when using Chrome OS it seems that Google docs is the most obvious way to go. Certainly it can import HTML, not sure if it can import epub directly, but apparently it can export to epub. Nothing Sigil-like about it, but I don't know enough about Chromebook to offer any other suggestions.
Google Docs is madness. It's worse than Word XP/2002, maybe worse than Word 2.0a. Also not private. It's best used only for temporary collaboration.

If it's an Intel/AMD Chromebook, then swapping Chrome OS to Crostini Linux is best. It may be possible to install Linux on ARM Chromebook, but I don't know.

There is a reason why a real laptop in CEX is about x3 price and up of the €150 Chromebooks there. A Mac OS laptop about x5 and up in CEX; new Apple stuff is better value than CEX S/H Apple.

Last edited by Quoth; 11-27-2022 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:16 AM   #7
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Some people use plain text. Some people using pen and paper. A great many people use Word/LO/etc. badly, and the result is of minimal difference to the mediocre quality HTML editors you are generalising* over. The point is that your craziness may be exactly what works for someone else. I try to remind myself that it's better not to rush to judgement on someone else's situation.


* I've seen some not bad HTML editors in specialist applications, making it is easy to see that better implementations are possible. For years I've had a design in mind, just no time to implement it, but I do already have the base component software available my language of choice, so the really hard part is already done, the rest is just wrapping some interface details around it. Of course, my choice is desktop based which is arguably crazy when everything else is moving to the cloud.
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Old 11-28-2022, 07:48 AM   #8
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Of course, my choice is desktop based which is arguably crazy when everything else is moving to the cloud.
Not so crazy when the cloud server ain’t working.

Last edited by Martinoptic; 11-28-2022 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 11-28-2022, 08:52 AM   #9
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Not so crazy when the cloud server ain’t working.
Or your internet is down, or export is terrible, or the privacy or security is either opaque or poor.

Cloud is ideal for "sharing" and collaboration. It's just someone else's server on the Internet, so simply updated technology of renting mainframe time via leased line or dialup. It's a backward step for personal information.
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Old 11-28-2022, 09:16 AM   #10
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Some people use plain text. Some people using pen and paper.
I'll use plain text on Jota (Android), KATE (Linux), Notepad++ (Windows) and Nebo (Kobo Sage Advanced notebooks). The Sage finally replaced paper notes, though Jota on phone was close.


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I've seen some not bad HTML editors in specialist applications
Specialist, yes. Otherwise a decent text editor or wordprocessor is better.

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For years I've had a design in mind, just no time to implement it, but I do already have the base component software available my language of choice, so the really hard part is already done, the rest is just wrapping some interface details around it.
That might have been worthwhile in 1989 (when HTML spec came out), if it did outlining, styles, dictionaries, formatting & styles of pages etc and could export doc, later docx, odt, PDF. Otherwise it's simply a better editor for Web pages.
I've written and worked on editors and implemented both programming languages and translation tools for wordprocessor formats and programming languages as part of the "day job" in the past. I even did a DOS text editor with Windows style menus, icons, foot pedal for sound file control (dictation files) not limited to RAM for file size and with hyperlinks, offering to create one if not found (pure text screen). It later worked well enough even in Win 3.1 and later NT 4.0 in a window. But it never had styles or formatting.

You'd be re-inventing the wheel. Also users don't really care ahout how the Wordprocessor stores the file (and true human readible XML is only an export option; xml was invented to allow a human to write a new import to native format function). There are plenty of alternates to MS Word and LO Writer, but all are either paid programs or pointless. MS Word is the corporate standard and it and Excel were two of MS's best programs from the beginning and on Mac before MS Windows was viable and LO Writer is the best free alternative. I've used the earlier not so good predecessors such as Star Office and Open Office. I used to have to teach Wordstar, then Wordperfect then MS Word.

I could write more about HTML, CSS and epub and why it was a mistake that the epub org was wrapped into the HTML one. HTML & CSS isn't perfect. Unlike some native format you don't control it and it has done crazy stuff and U-turns. Now dominated by Google which is bad for HTML and browsers and the Web.

Local programs and files are best except for sharing/collaboration and even then you must be able to download and edit off line.

*Nebo is also available on iOS and Android (Digitizer based stylus/pen/pencil needed); also in some fashion on MacOS and Windows. The Kobo Sage & Kobo Elipsa implementation is closer to iOS paid version than iOS free version (Grandson has Nebo on iOS iPad with 3rd party cheap "pencil").

Last edited by Quoth; 11-28-2022 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 11-28-2022, 02:34 PM   #11
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A Chromebook is the worst laptop ever invented.
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Old 11-28-2022, 02:50 PM   #12
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A Chromebook is the worst laptop ever invented.
I had a Chromebook Pixel with ChromeOS completely replaced by linux. There have been many much worse laptops.
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Old 11-28-2022, 03:59 PM   #13
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A Chromebook is the worst laptop ever invented.
No, It is the most misused by users who do not understand WHY it was cheap.
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Old 11-28-2022, 04:03 PM   #14
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No, It is the most misused by users who do not understand WHY it was cheap.
It's bought by people who end up ripped off when they find out there's not much they can do with it.
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Old 11-28-2022, 06:59 PM   #15
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[...] You'd be re-inventing the wheel. [...]
So I write a post suggesting that rushing to judgement can be a mistake, and it included a brief footnote about an idea I have, and your reaction is to jump in with size 12 boots and stomp all over the idea that you know almost nothing about. Hmm?
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